Climate Change

The Catastrophe: Climate change and the 22nd Century

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NOTE FOR 2019 READERS: This is the sixth in a series of open letters to the next century. The series marks a little-known chronological milestone. According to UN data, life expectancy at birth in 27 countries now exceeds 81 years — meaning babies born in 2019 are more likely than not to see the year 2100.

What will the world be like at the other end of our kids’ lives? Today’s scientific discoveries, Silicon Valley visions, and science fiction can give us glimpses. But in this series of digital time capsules, we also recognize that our hopes and fears can shape what the future will become. 

Dear 22nd century, Read more…

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7 of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s most inspirational speeches

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Since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to Congress, she’s brought a refreshing and powerfully passionate energy to Washington, DC.

When she isn’t mastering the art of the Twitter takedown, sharing her social media skills with fellow Democrats, or answering interview questions as candidly as possible, the 29-year-old is making insightful speeches that effectively communicate her personal beliefs and challenge the American people to rethink our power structures and national priorities.

Whether she’s at a protest or on the House floor, Ocasio-Cortez never shies away from expressing her opinions, no matter how bold. She delivers her messages calmly and succinctly, and though she’s only been on the job for a few months, she’s already made several memorable — and quotable — speeches. Read more…

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AOC obliterates claim that the Green New Deal is ‘elitist’ in stirring speech

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s signature Green New Deal may not have gained enough votes in the Senate on Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped a stirring speech of hers from going viral.

The New York Congresswoman spoke on Tuesday at a House Financial Services Committee meeting, slamming the idea that the deal and general concern over the environment is “elitist.”

During the meeting, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy had dramatically argued this very point, saying that the GND would increase the total cost of housing for lower income earners and the homeless.

“If you’re a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that’s energy efficient,” Duffy said. Read more…

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Greenland’s fastest-melting glacier has stalled. But that’s bad news.

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Like a snake slithering back into its den, Greenland’s lengthy Jakobshavn glacier has retreated over 25 miles since the 19th century. And for the last two decades, this warming river of ice has purged more ice into to sea than any other Greenland glacier. 

But since 2016 — and after 20 years of unprecedented melting in Greenland — Jakobshavn’s rapid retreat has slowed down considerably and the glacier has even grown bigger. This might appear to be a rare dose of good news for the Arctic — a place that’s heated up over twice as much as the rest of the planet. 

But no.

Instead, a team researchers led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered that Jakobshavn’s stagnated melt is only a temporary blip brought on by cooler ocean currents. Though worryingly, the recent slowing also carries ominous news for the thawing landmass. The research, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, reveals that the Jakobshavn glacier — whose ice reaches some 2,600 feet under the sea — is extremely sensitive to changes in ocean temperature. That’s a big problem because the dynamic ocean currents off western Greenland will naturally warm up again — on top of the reality that Earth’s absorbent seas soak up Read more…

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Wow: U.S. gov’t warns there’s a spring flood risk for two-thirds of the Lower 48

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In Nebraska and Iowa there’s a brown sea where there should be homes, roads, gas stations, and open country. 

Historic floods have deluged vast swaths of the Midwest — even flooding a third of the U.S. Air Force base that houses the nation’s critical U.S. Strategic Command. But the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the floods aren’t nearly over. The agency’s 2019 Spring Outlook found that nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states are at risk for flooding in the coming months. 

“The extensive flooding we’ve seen in the past two weeks will continue through May and become more dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream,” Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said in a statement.  Read more…

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Planning for the uncertain future of work

In a recently published, roughly 75-page report, British non-profit organization The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA) outlined several scenarios for how the UK labor market will be impacted by frontier technologies such as automation, AI, AVs and more. The analysis titled “The Four Futures of Work” was conducted in collaboration with design […]

Giant inland sea created by the disastrous Mozambique cyclone

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Cyclone Idai left death, destruction, and a sprawling inland sea in its wake. 

The powerful tropical cyclone — which struck Mozambique last Thursday as the equivalent of a Category 2 or 3 hurricane with winds of around 100 mph — has left at least 150 dead and 600,000 in need of help in the flooded nation said the EU, though the Associated Press reports over 300 fatalities as of March 21 when accounting for deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe.

The cyclone’s widespread flooding — in part overshadowed by simultaneous and historic flooding in the Midwest — has left behind an inundated area some 200 square miles in size (518 square kilometers), with the inland sea reaching up to 15 miles wide, according to satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA).  Read more…

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The West accepts its drought-ridden future, slashes water use

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Out West, the future is dry.

Amid an unprecedented 19-year drought in the expansive Colorado River Basin — which supplies water to 40 million Americans — seven Western states have acknowledged that the 21st century will only grow drier as temperatures continue to rise. And that means less water in the 1,450-mile Colorado River. On Tuesday, water managers from states including California, Utah, and New Mexico announced a drought plan (formally called a Drought Contingency Plan), which cuts their water use for the next seven years — until an even more austere plan must be adopted.

Already, the drought has left water levels at Lake Mead — the nearly 250-square-mile reservoir that’s held back by the formidable Hoover Dam — at their lowest levels in half a century. The water shortage has left telltale, white mineral “bathtub rings” around the basin, well over 100 feet high.  Read more…

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NASA photos capture immense flooding of a vital U.S. Air Force base

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In 1948, Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington stationed the United States’ long-range nuclear bombers at Offutt Air Force Base in eastern Nebraska, a location safe in the middle of the nation and well-insulated from the coast.

But 70 years later, the base — now home to the U.S. Strategic Command which deters “catastrophic actions from adversaries and poses an immediate threat to any actor who questions U.S. resolve by demonstrating our capabilities” — isn’t safe from historic and record-setting floods

Intense rains on top of the rapid melting of ample snow has inundated large swathes of Nebraska and a full one-third of the Offutt Air Force Base, including the headquarters building. Read more…

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Here’s a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019

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Earth is now the warmest it’s been in some 120,000 years. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. And concentrations of carbon dioxide — a potent greenhouse gas — are likely the highest they’ve been in 15 million years

The consequences of such a globally-disrupted climate are many, and it’s understandably difficult to keep track. To help, here’s a list of climate-relevant news that has transpired in 2019, from historically unprecedented disappearances of ice, to flood-ravaged cities. As more news comes out, the list will be updated. Read more…

1Guess what? U.S. carbon emissions popped back up in a big way

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